Tag Archives: updates

District 2 Update – May 2018

Hello, fellow neighbors!

As we approach the Summer season and our Winter residents head for cooler weather, I’d like to remind you all to stay engaged with what’s happening here on the home front. We have two very important elections coming up, so I want to be sure you have the most current information.

Circle City Water Acquisition

This month, registered voters will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on a way to increase our surface river water allocations to meet future needs.

In support of the City Council’s Strategic Plan goal to “Ensure sufficient water resources for current and future needs,” Council, in November, approved a Special Ballot-by-Mail Election on May 15, in which Surprise voters will decide whether or not to authorize the purchase and acquisition of Circle City Water Company.

Circle City Water Company is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. Circle City Water serves approximately 170 customers.

In addition to the company’s existing customer base, Circle City also has a Central Arizona Project (CAP) subcontract that would increase the City’s current CAP allocation of Colorado River water (Surface Water) by more than 38 percent.

If approved, the purchase would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets. As a reminder, Sun City Grand’s water provider is EPCOR and the city only manages the sewer portion of our water bill. Should voters approve the purchase and acquisition of Circle City Water, we will grow our surface water portfolio, which means we can service more people as the city grows.

Don’t forget, replacement ballot voting begins on May 5th. More information about this Special Election can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/waterelection, or by contacting the Water Resources Management Department at (623) 222-7100.

City Council Primary & General Elections

Five Council seats are up for election this year. Now more than ever, your vote can make a huge difference! The offices to be filled are as follows:

Three Council Seats with 4-year terms expiring in 2022: District 1 (Acacia), 5 (Palm), and 6 (Palo Verde).

Two Council Seat with a 2-year term expiring December 2020: District 3 (Mesquite) due to resignation in 2017, and District 2 (Cottonwood) to fill the remainder of a term left vacant due to the passing of my dear husband and your former Councilman, Jim Hayden, in 2017.

The deadline for voter registration is Monday, July 30th. If you are unsure of your registration status, visit www.maricopa.vote. Registration is also available in-person at the Surprise City Clerk’s Office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Primary Election takes place Tuesday, August 28th, followed by a General Election (if necessary) on Tuesday, November 6th.

Stay In Touch!

As always, if you need to reach me, I can be contacted via email at nancy.hayden@surpriseaz.gov, by phone at (623) 222-1322, or through social media on Twitter @CM_Hayden or on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/councilwomanhayden. To our Winter residents, I encourage you to reach out to me if you want to know what’s happening here in Surprise while you’re away. To our year-round residents, I look forward to toughing out the heat with you!

Emergency response in a growing city can be challenging

Over the last few months, several meetings were held to discuss the city’s FY18 budget and its priorities. After many discussions, City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented his Recommended Budget which is scheduled for approval this month. These budgets discussions marked my first as an elected official in Surprise. With that being said, maintaining current services and protecting our residents is my priority.

When I reflect on the protection of our residents, public safety comes to mind. One of the key aspects of public safety is to save lives and protect property. In order to accomplish this, we need to ensure our response times to these incidents are more than sufficient. As an elected official, I have an obligation to the citizens of the city to make sure we can adequately protect our residents in the event emergency and fire services are needed. Having spent most of my career with the Glendale Fire Department, I focus on response times. When lives and property are at risk, every second of the emergency response cycle counts.

Response to medical emergencies is constantly evolving. Science is becoming more and more sophisticated. The more we learn, the more it changes. Paramedicine has certainly contributed to quicker and more efficient responses as has telemedicine. For example, telemedicine utilizes technology that has significantly changed how EMS providers perform care. Ambulances and fire apparatuses can now carry advanced diagnostic equipment that has become more portable and more affordable. EKG monitors perform and transmit 12-leads, record vital signs, and measure carbon dioxide levels in expired air and carbon monoxide levels in blood.

Even with all of the enhancements listed above, response times and resource management remains a complex part of service delivery. The time of day, street networks and traffic planning are all items that have a large impact on the response times.

The City of Surprise currently has seven fire stations, all of which provide for Advanced Life Support (ALS) via Fire Engines and Ladder Trucks. This delivery model has proven to be very effective and ensures that the crews are always ready for whatever call comes up. All trucks are equipped with GPS devices that report their location to the Phoenix Fire dispatch center. Phoenix Fire is then able to determine the closest unit to the call and sends them to help reduce response times. This process ensures all resources are being used in the most efficient manner. Unfortunately, if there are multiple or stacked calls for service in a specific areas of the city, units are sent over to help cover those calls. This situation is what causes response times to become extended. Here is an example:

If a call for service comes out in the southeast corner of the city, currently there is no fire station there to cover that call. This call is routed to the closest unit; a majority of the time this is Fire Station (FS) 305, near Surprise Stadium. When FS305 gets that call their area is left uncovered. Any call for service in that area is now served by neighboring fire stations such as Fire Station 306 located at 16645 W. Clearview Boulevard. This means that the response to a current call in Fire Station 305’s first due will be extended. In addition, any call that takes place in Fire Station 306’s first due while they are out will also be extended because it is being back filled with a unit outside of that area.

The Surprise Fire Medical Department (SFMD) has a goal to be at your door step within 6 minutes of the call for service 90% of the time. With this goal in mind you can see why calls for service in uncovered areas can cause the entire system to underperform. According to the American Heart Association, every minute after cardiac arrest and no advanced care (AED & CPR), the chance of survival decreases by 10%. After 10 minutes the chances of survival is very poor.

Surprise continues to grow which means more demand on all of our services, including public safety. It is imperative that we continue to serve our residents adequately and ensure their safety is our first and foremost concern.

Luke Air Force Base Community Partnership

Earlier this year, Mayor Sharon Wolcott appointed me to Luke West Valley Council. As an Air Force Veteran myself, it is certainly an honor and a privilege to be part of this group. Luke West Valley Council promotes Luke Air Force Base as well as the F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet pilot-training program and the continuation of their F-16 training mission.

When I left Vietnam, I was asked to list my stateside choices. Luke and Williams Air Force bases were my choices and I was assigned to Luke AFB in 1964. My military records had indicated that I had been involved in counter insurgency and while that was incorrect, it allowed me extra time on the Base. I remained at Luke until 1969 where afterwards, I was transferred to the Philippines on a two year accompany assignment. I returned to Luke AFB on a retirement assignment in 1974 so it is fair to say, I consider Luke my home.

Luke West Valley was formed in the 1980s to build regional and community support for Luke’s success in the region. The group is comprised of Luke AFB officials, elected leaders from 12 West Valley cities and Maricopa County, as well as representatives from Sun City and Sun City West. Its purpose is to discuss and address community issues, challenges and successes concerning Luke activities.

Members of Luke West Valley Council at Goodyear Ballpark.
Members of Luke West Valley Council with Brig. General Leonard at spring training game last month at Goodyear Ballpark.

Recently Brigadier General Brook J. Leonard updated City Council on Luke AFB 56th Fighter Wing mission and activities.

The base was named after 2d Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr., a Phoenix native, Fighter Ace and the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor. He joined the Air Force during World War I. Lt. Luke was responsible for 13 confirmed kills during a 7-day combat period and 18 overall kills in Germany.

Thunderbolt Nation is comprised of four different locations – Luke AFB, Holloman AFB, Davis-Monthan AFB, Klamath Falls AFB. There are over 5,600 people as part of 56th Fighter Wing. Approximately 10,000 people come on and off the base on a daily basis. Lockheed Martin employs almost 400 civilian employees on the Base who take care of the F-35s. Between the 56th Fighter Wing and the 944th Fighter Wing (the reserve component), Luke AFB produces 66% of the World’s F-35 pilots and 97% of the F-16 pilots.

The partnerships that the Base forms with the community involves more than the West Valley. The Barry M. Goldwater Range in southern Arizona not only provides 4,300 square miles of restricted air space but 1.75 million acres of ground space for the Air Force to train.

The F-35 program at Luke AFB continues to expand! They just took possession of their 51st F-35 and plan to acquire a total of 144. They are now breaking ground on Ops 4 and Ops 5 and have plans for a total of six F-35 squadrons.

Fighter Country Partnership is a community and advocacy support group for Luke AFB that was founded in 1997. Fighter Country Partnership is a non-profit 501(4)c organization with a 501(c)3 foundation. FCP works to support the Airmen and families at Luke AFB focused on three primary areas: morale and welfare, culture and tradition and sustainability of the Luke mission. More than 300 people are part of FCP. Last year FCP provided more than $260,000 in, in-kind donations to the Airmen of Luke and hosted numerous events for the Airmen and families including a financial saving expo and appreciation dinners.

To say that Luke AFB is a regional economic driver is an understatement. The 4,200-acre base contributes an estimated $2 billion into the state economy on an annual basis and serves more than 100,000 servicemen and -women, military family members and veterans.

According to Brig. General Leonard, Luke AFB payroll is an estimated $448 million per year. The Base spends $52.7 million annually in local contracts, provides $2 million annually for education assistance and spends $276.7 million yearly on purchases. There are approximately 30,000 retirees within a 50-mile radius. Luke AFB spends $55 million a year on retiree payments. These figures should continue to increase.

In the words of our Air Force, history makes us smarter but our heritage makes us prouder. I hope this summary reflects the gratitude I have not only for Luke Air Force Base but all of our branches of military and our veterans!

Stay Connected to Your City

Spring has sprung in Surprise, signaling a time when many of our residents head to “less warm” locations to spend the summer months….

While you are away, I encourage you to stay engaged with what is happening here in Surprise. This amazing and rapidly-growing city has so many exciting things happening, that I wouldn’t want you to miss out on.

How can you stay connected?

The city’s Marketing and Communications Department offers a myriad of ways you can stay on top of what’s happening here, so when you return later this fall, you won’t have missed a thing.

A quick visit to www.surpriseaz.gov will provide you with the latest news and updates through the news section on the homepage. While online you can also browse the calendar of events, which are broken up by a public meetings calendar and an all-events calendar.

You can continue to watch City Council meetings while out of town, as all of our meetings and work sessions, as well all Surprise TV programming, are streamed live on www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv. A reminder, that Council does not meet in the month of July for the summer recess.

Another great way to stay connected is to sign up for the Notify Me email list. Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/notifyme, type in your email address and make the selections for what type of information you would like to have emailed to you.

There are many options to choose from including all Current News Releases, Council Agendas and I personally have my own District 2 list in which I share city and district-based news to those that sign up. After your selections are made, click the ‘Sign In’ button to begin receiving city news directly to your email account.

You can get social with the city too! Follow us on Twitter @AZSurprise. Like us on Facebook /CityofSurprise or watch our latest videos on YouTube /SurpriseTV11.

Did you know?

The Surprise Police Department offers the no-cost Vacation Watch program to residents who will be out of town for a minimum of two weeks. Through this program, our Citizen Patrol volunteers will check your home on a recurring basis looking to make sure things remain secure while you are away. You can register for this program by calling 623.222.4277.

For those residents that will be away for four months or longer, you also have the option to temporarily suspend your trash/recycling service. The service fee is $55, to cover the cost of can pickup, restocking and redelivery. The charge will appear on your next bill following the requested date of suspension. Your billing will automatically start up again after your normal service resumes. For more information on how to enroll call Public Works at 623.222.6000.

I love being part of this connected community and I know you do to, that’s why even when we leave for short periods of time, we always return home to Surprise!

Building a Safe Surprise – Begins With You

Here in the City of Surprise we have a great public safety team at work. In this article, I’d like to share the latest happenings within the Surprise Police and Fire-Medical Departments.

Police on alert for property crime:

Surprise Police report that approximately 64% of all thefts from vehicles are the result of people leaving their car doors unlocked or leaving items of value in the car where would-be-thieves can easily see them. The theory behind our “Lock it or Lose it” campaign is simple – if the thieves can see it, they will steal it.

No one wants to be a victim of crime, that’s why I am passing along the Surprise Police Department’s reminder that the majority of thefts from vehicles are preventable. Here are some safety tips to follow:

  • Always lock your car! By simply locking your car doors and taking valuables with you, you dramatically reduce the risk of being a crime victim.
  • Park in a secure and well lit location.
  • Don’t leave valuable items in plain sight. Lock them in the trunk or take them with you.
  • Park in your home garage.

Police Chief Terry Young says nearly 95% of crime in Surprise is property crime and the vast majority is from items being stolen from open garages or unlocked vehicles. Property crime is a category of crime that includes, among other crimes, burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Property crime involves the taking of property, and does not involve force or threat of force against a victim. The good news is more than 70% of property crimes are preventable! Again it comes down to closing your garage door and locking your car.

To report a crime or suspicious activity, call Surprise Police at 623.222.4000. If it is an emergency or dangerous situation, please dial 9-1-1 immediately.

Another concern is that traffic accidents are on the rise. That’s why the City recently launched a new traffic safety campaign aimed at encouraging safe driving habits. The slogan: “Drive Wise, Surprise.”

According to Chief Young, every year, traffic accidents increase by an average of 8-to-10 percent amid a growing population. This campaign is designed to create a culture of safe driving in Surprise, whether you are a resident or a visitor driving through the city.

The campaign uses play on words and bright, creative imagery to deploy safety reminders via new street signage that you will see across the city. While the campaign may sound playful, the intention behind it is more serious.

“When you are practicing good driving habits, you are helping to make the road safer for everyone,” says Chief Young. “Getting to your destination faster is not worth a serious injury; driving distracted or under the influence is not worth a life.”

This message is especially relevant as accident statistics increase and bad driving behaviors continue:

  • Surprise saw an 8 percent increase in accidents from 2014 to 2015 and a 10 percent increase in accidents from 2015 to 2016.
  • Arizona Department of Transportation reported a statewide increase of more than 6 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • About 87 percent of drivers engage in unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, according to national research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in a one year period, according to a national study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In addition to street signs, the campaign includes community and media engagement, social media messaging, ads, a public service announcement and various other marketing tools. We invite residents to help us with how we can evolve the message so it remains meaningful and impactful.

If you’d like to learn more, the Sun City Grand Neighborhood watch meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 4:30 pm at the Sonoran Plaza. Additionally, Surprise Police Department hosts “Coffee with a Cop” each month. Residents can also access our crime mapping system by going to www.raidsonline.com. For more information, please contact our Community Action line at 623.222.4140.

For those residents that reached out about noise pollution along Bell Road…. Chief Young has increased patrol for this particular area. In addition to increased patrol for the noise pollution, our bike patrol enforcement has also increased to help prevent residents from becoming a victim of crime and to educate our residents to “Lock It or Lose It”.

The Evolution of Surprise Fire-Medical:

Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott and I spent time together to discuss the transformation of the fire service over the last four decades. Since many of us transplant ourselves here from other states, we don’t fully understand how our fire departments operate differently from those across the country. It is helpful to thoroughly comprehend how the emergency system here in the valley works.

The Phoenix Fire Department is one of the largest fire departments in the country and their Regional Dispatch Center provides fire and emergency medical dispatching services for approximately 26 Valley jurisdictions directly, including Surprise, and 3 entities indirectly. This service area is over 2,000 square miles!

This regional system is known as Automatic Aid and it began in January 1981. This time-tested deployment system provides the closest most appropriate fire service resource regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.

In most communities outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area, jurisdictional lines prevent firefighters from entering neighboring towns and cities, although they may be closer to the emergency call. In the Valley, the closest, most appropriate resource is dispatched regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.

What does this mean to you? The Automatic Aid system provides Valley communities, including Surprise, with the highest level of efficiency, service and effectiveness. This system gets first-responders to you faster, reduces resources and personnel costs for each participating community. And because the Phoenix Regional Dispatch Center currently partners with the Mesa Regional Dispatch Center to dispatch most of the communities in the Valley, that eliminates the need for each of 26 participating agencies to pay for their own dispatch center.

Cost savings do not end there…ISO (Insurance Service Office) ratings determine a portion of how much you pay for homeowners and business insurance premiums. The ISO categorizes municipalities and fire districts from 10 – 1, with 1 being the best. Due to Automatic Aid, the city of Surprise currently holds a rating of 2. According to Fire Chief Abbott, in all likelihood our rating would be 4 without automatic aid.

Another benefit to the Automatic Aid System is that it puts us in a better position during large catastrophic incidents. During these large scale incidents, we rely on our partners to send resources. They also backfill our fire stations and run our calls when our firefighters are committed to other incidents and our resources are depleted. Additionally, the regional partnership provides our firefighters with the ability to utilize state-of-the-art regional training facilities that provide the most innovative training.

The protection of life and property is the mission of the Surprise Public Safety Teams!

We’ve placed police and fire stations strategically across geographic regions, commensurate with population densities and workload needs. While Automatic Aid provides us with innumerable benefits, we must continue to follow growth trends to ensure we have the proper number of fire stations and police stations/sub stations available in the right areas to continue to keep Surprise a safe and thriving community.

January 2017 – New Year Fitness

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when many of us begin to focus on fitness to kick-off our resolution of improving ourselves.

While the city has about one-third, to half the number of recreational offerings of our peer communities per population, we do have some amazing parks and programs currently to help promote a healthy lifestyle. Let’s explore some of them…

Surprise Community ParkThe Surprise Community Park, 15953 N. Bullard Avenue, offers various playground units, 4 lighted basketball courts, 8 lighted pickleball courts, and 2 lighted sand volleyball courts. Additional amenities include 10 ramadas, picnic tables, restrooms, drinking fountains, barbecue facilities, a 5 acre urban fishing lake with accessible dock and a dog park.

Asante Community Park, 16763 W. Vereda Solana Drive, is located in northern Surprise. The park offers 2 playground units, 2 lighted soccer fields, 2 lighted softball/baseball fields, 4 lighted basketball courts and walking paths with exercise stations. Other amenities include 5 ramadas, 2 restrooms, drinking fountains, barbecue facilities, picnic tables and a wonderful World War II memorial.

Heritage ParkHeritage Park, 15073 W. Sweetwater Avenue, is located in central Surprise in the Marley Park neighborhood. The park offers a playground unit, splash pad, walking paths and 2 lighted softball fields. Other amenities include 5 ramadas, 1 pavillion, barbecue facilities, picnic tables, drinking fountains and restrooms.

Surprise Farms Community Park, 17894 Westpark Boulevard, is conveniently located near Loop 303 and Bell Road. Amenities include 4 softball fields, open green spaces which can be utilized for fitness activities, walking paths, 2 playground units, 2 ramadas, a lighted and fenced skate park, a splash pad, drinking fountains and restrooms. This newer park also offers a dog park.

The Community and Recreation Services Department offers over 1,900 programs in the areas of youth and adult sports, aquatics, adaptive recreation, special interest classes and other activities. In addition to the parks, we have a 140 acre recreation campus, 3 recreation centers, 2 aquatics centers and a 24 court tennis center.

The winter season of Adult sports features Men’s Softball, Co-Ed Softball, Basketball and Flag Football. Multiple seasons of all of these sports are offered throughout the year. If you haven’t taken advantage of our incredible facilities or programs, I would encourage you to consider them and absorb the beautiful amenities we have right here!

Do you want to find the fountain of youth? Look no further…we have the amenities within our city limits and Sun City Grand. If we want to stay young and healthy, fitness needs to be one of our top priorities. It’s never too late to start a fitness program. How do we start? I recently met with Roz Locker, Occupational Therapist, Personal Trainer and fellow Sun City Grand resident regarding fitness and motivation. Together we suggest the following:

  • Consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.
  • Pick a reasonable goal, don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Find a trainer or knowledgeable friend to help you learn the right way.
  • Be accountable for someone else, it helps keep you accountable as well.
  • Minimum 3 day per week commitment
  • Consistency is key
  • Find something you are comfortable with. Your success is contingent upon it!
  • Remember you are not limited to the gym. We are surrounded by numerous amenities

While cost of a trainer may concern some residents, it is possible that your insurance may cover wellness. Some of us may have had physical therapy prescribed for us. We can always utilize the expertise of that therapist to begin a program as well. Furthermore, conditioning prior to any surgical procedure is important to your recovery.

The benefits of fitness can’t possibly be measured. The endorphins and chemicals produced from working out not only benefit our hearts but also our minds. It provides us with the power of confidence and improved self-image. Fitness helps raise our awareness about the foods we consume and help makes us more mindful of nutrition and the supplements we take. It helps us build our social circle…It helps us build camaraderie with our gym mates. It is important to remember that results are not immediate – approximately 3 months at the earliest providing your fitness routines are consistent.

The health of our city is important but so is the health of our residents! I hope we start the New Year taking care of ourselves!

Councilmember Jim Hayden

November 2016 – Introduction & Utility Transition Update

Hello Neighbors!

It has been an honor to live in Sun City Grand for the past 12 years and now it is my privilege and honor to serve you as District 2 City Council Member. I was appointed by the Surprise City Council to serve the remainder of the term for the District 2 council seat last month. I have had the great pleasure of knowing you or meeting you over the past few months, but for those I haven’t personally met, I’d like to introduce myself.

I served on the Glendale Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT for 22 years. Prior to that I respectfully served our country for 20 years in the United States Air Force where I trained pilots with critical skills needed to survive warlike conditions. Like many of the courageous veterans I have met, I am also a Vietnam War veteran.

I currently serve as Adjunct Faculty at Glendale Community College, teaching Fire Science and Emergency Medical Technicians and serve on the city’s Public Safety Retirement Board.

I look forward to sharing important city news and information with you and would like to remind you of an important transition that began on November 1. Surprise residents that were billed by American Water for water and/or wastewater and solid waste services should now be receiving their bills from the City of Surprise.

Council voted to transition billing for city utility services from American Water to an in-house operation on March 1, 2016. Following months of planning, the new service has begun. Some of the most significant transition changes customers will see include:

  • A new account number;
  • A new bill statement layout;
  • And more options for making utility payments.

To help ease the transition, I wanted to include these detailed FAQs:

Am I going to receive an American Water statement in October? If I do, who should I pay?

Yes. If you previously received a statement from American Water for your water or wastewater/solid waste, you will receive your last statement in October or the first week in November. Please pay this last bill to American Water using the same method of payment you have always used when paying your American Water Bill.

When will I receive my Surprise utility billing statement?

Due to multiple billing cycles and meter schedules, residents will be receiving their City of Surprise utility bill at various times throughout the month of November, however you will receive your first statement about 30 days from when you received your last American Water bill.

Do I still need to pay EPCOR for my water service?

Yes. Customers who are currently served by EPCOR water will continue to receive their water statement from EPCOR. However, if you received a statement from American Water for wastewater and solid waste services, your wastewater and solid waste statement will now come from the city of Surprise.

I’m currently enrolled in auto pay with American Water; what should I do?

When you receive your first statement from the city of Surprise (by mail) with your new utility account number, you will need to go online to http://surpriseaz.gov/waterbill and select the ‘Utility Payments’ button. It will lead you to the City utility payment website where you will select ‘Create Account’ to set up your online payment account. If you are unsure about how to do this or do not have access to the internet to do this, call the City’s customer service staff at 623.222.1900 and they will be happy to assist you over the phone in getting you set up. Just remember, to call them beginning November 1st so they can help you get set up in the “live” system.

I pay all my bills using online banking; do I need to change anything?

Yes. When you receive your first statement from the city of Surprise (by mail) with your new utility account number, you will need to log into your online banking account and update your payment information using your new Surprise account number and the city’s information which can be found on your statement.

Should you have questions, please contact the Customer Service & Utility Billing team at 623.222.1900.

In summary, I have been a public servant my entire life, to me, it is my vocation. There is no greater honor than service and I am overwhelmed with sincere gratitude that I have been given the opportunity to serve you. Please feel free to reach out to me at jim.hayden@surpriseaz.gov or call 623.222.1322. Thank you!